Ireland failing to meet minimum standards to combat human trafficking, report finds
Ireland failing to meet minimum standards to combat human trafficking, report finds.
The annual 2023 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, published yesterday evening (15.06.23) by the US Department of State, has ranked Ireland at Tier 2 for the second year running. The report ranks governments worldwide on their perceived efforts to acknowledge and combat human trafficking.
Ireland has been on a Tier 2 or lower status since 2018, as it has been failing to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Responding to the report, representatives from the Immigrant Council of Ireland highlighted their concerns that the current efforts to tackle the crime are inadequate.
Commenting today, Brian Killoran, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council, said: “While not surprising, it is disappointing to see that Ireland has not made any great strides over the past year in combatting human trafficking. The reality of the difficulties and barriers facing victims of trafficking in Ireland remain the same as they were last year.
“Despite the publication of a draft National Action Plan on human trafficking, and the government advancing toward draft legislation for a revised National Referral Mechanism for victims of human trafficking, we are very concerned that this progress is just too slow. Promises that have been made in relation to supports and adequate services for victims continue to be broken, and the continued use of the broken direct provision system to house victims of trafficking is causing untold harm.”
“The report highlighted some of positive developments by the Irish state including increased funding to victim support, increased funding for awareness raising programmes, and successfully identifying several child victims of trafficking.
“The report went on, however, to criticise the lack of progress in the reform of Ireland’s victim identification process, its lack of a revised National Action Plan, its lack of convictions against traffickers in 2022, and the continued widespread failure to provide adequate accommodation for survivors outside of the direct provision system. In 2022, Ireland identified 39 victims of trafficking, less than the 44 identified in 2021. Of this group, 24 were survivors of sex trafficking, and 15 were trafficked for the purpose of labour exploitation. Four of those identified were children. We cannot continue to neglect these vulnerable people by failing to implement the policies and systems that could protect them. It’s the duty of the government to take timely action on the report recommendations, so that survivors of human trafficking have the supports and services they need to rebuild their lives.”
Challenges facing victims of trafficking
Mary Henderson, a solicitor with the Immigrant Council’s Independent Law Centre also highlighted specific challenges facing victims of human trafficking: “One simple example of where identified victims of trafficking face exclusion is in accessing Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) supports, when they attend third level education.
“This specific issue has been outlined to the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, and was included by the Department in the draft National Action Plan, however it has not been progressed. As a result, victims of trafficking will not be able to access SUSI supports if they attend third level education this September. This is particularly disappointing as it was understood this was going to be addressed when the updates were made to the Student Support Regulations earlier this year, and even more so given that at the time, the interim Minister for Justice, Simon Harris TD, also had responsibility for those regulations under his remit as Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.”
The full TIP Report can be accessed here: https://www.state.gov/reports/2023-trafficking-in-persons-report/ireland/
For further information, contact: Sorcha MacMahon / Niamh Breathnach, Alice Public Relations, Tel: 087-7585337 / 085-1461231. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
About the Immigrant Council of Ireland
The Immigrant Council of Ireland is the leading national human rights organisation working to defend migrant rights in Ireland. It provides free immigration advice and legal support through its helpline and law centre, as well as campaigning for immigration reform. The Council also provides support to victims of racism and human trafficking, and provides opportunities for migrants to connect with each other and their communities. Visit www.immigrantcouncil.ie for more information.